Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Slender Baskettail

On 23 March 2015, we stopped at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in the Florida panhandle. We had visited in February 2011. In 2015 we saw many fewer birds, perhaps due to the later date. But we were amazed to find swarms of dragonflies. Most appeared to be Slender Baskettails, although, to my disappointment, this identification was not vetted by Odonata Central. I believe my identification is correct, and for the following reasons. Most individuals, like in the first photo, had little or no dark markings at the base of the hind wing. Note the constricted apex of the abdomen on the baskettal in the second photo. More significantly, the yellow lateral spots on the third abdominal segment are not square, but somewhat elongated and tapering.  Finally, the cerci, the extensions off the end of the abdomen, are relatively long and slender.                 
Some of the dragonflies may have been Common Baskettails. The two species are known to occur together. The top dragonfly in the last photo may be a Common Baskettail. The dark marks at the base of the hind wings are more extensive than in the other two and the abdomen may be a bit more stocky.

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